Wednesday, December 04, 2013
By now everyone knows that Dayna Morales, the lesbian waitress who claimed to have been denied a tip over her sexual orientation, was lying. It's not the first politically correct receipt hoax and it won't be the last. These hoaxes happen because leftist activists promote them and the media picks them up. The world is full of liars and con artists, but it's revealing to see which of their lies and cons succeed.
Morales' hoax is a blip in the larger pattern of faked hate crimes. Bigotry is the witch hunt of the modern Salem and progressive witch hunters are just as careless about facts and evidence. Now as then, the goal is to stamp out an attitude and a cultural threat, rather than to enforce the law, and that leads inevitably to the entire tawdry parade of hysterical denunciations and moral panic.
But what is behind this need to manufacture intolerance?
The left built up its replacement for class warfare around identity politics. Though we take most of these identities, including the racial trinity and homosexuality, for granted, they are really modern artificial constructs that define how people should define themselves, rather than accepting them as they are.
Strangely enough, racial and sexual identities were more nuanced centuries ago than they are today where the "one drop rule" now goes completely unchallenged in matters of race and equally so in matters of sexual orientation. Anyone who can be claimed on any grounds by the victim group, must be identified with them or face accusations of false consciousness.
We are less willing to contemplate biracial and bisexual today than we were a century ago. Instead leftist collectivism demands that everyone be either one thing or another. Everyone is divided into categories of victim and oppressor. Just as no one can be both on both sides of the class struggle; so too the left rejects the idea of being on both sides of the victim line in race or sexual orientation.
On Seinfeld, Jerry's dentist joined Judaism for the jokes. Leftists are joining native tribes for the victimhood. Meanwhile they're defining those identities solely in terms of victimhood.
The absurdity of people lining up to be victims has led to the proliferation of fake Indians, like Elizabeth Warren and Ward Churchill in the United States, and white aborigines in Australia. The fake indigenous tribal has little in the way of a genetic or cultural connection to any native people; but chooses to trade in his or her white identity, at least temporarily, to enhance their leftist politics.
They are engaging in a fraud much bigger than a forged receipt; but they are doing it for the same reasons.
An identity defined in terms of victimhood needs fresh injections of oppression to sustain its existence. Those African-Americans who define "blackness" not in terms of positive values but in terms of negative values, need white racism, the real thing or the fake one, to remind them of who they are. And the same holds true for other oppressed minorities who define themselves not by their culture or values; but by their resentments.
Intolerance has become identity. If you define your minority identity on the left's terms, then if you aren't being oppressed, you aren't real. And if you constantly read accounts about other black people or other gay people being discriminated against and those experiences don’t match yours; you begin to wonder if something isn't wrong with you. If maybe you aren't an authentic member of the group.
There are two ways out of this intellectual trap; either recognizing that an identity need not be based on a sense of persecution or becoming "creative" about finding new forms of persecution.
It's easy to mock Dayna Morales for forging a receipt snub. If only she had learned about critical race theory, she would have been able to denounce the family in question for their privilege. Instead of faking a receipt, she would have been able to express her internal need for persecution in the political language of the left.
Dayna only forged a single receipt. Obama spent five years in the White House forging phony racism accusations to protect him on every issue from the economy to ObamaCare.
The left's need for victimization means that increasing levels of tolerance actually lead to escalating confrontations with these manufacturers of intolerance. The assertion that all white people are innately racist because of their privilege is one such response to increasing tolerance. By claiming that whiteness itself is racist, the left gets back to political identity, rather than actual discrimination, as the source of conflict and redefines even the most tolerant university multicultural spaces as racist.
The manufacturers of intolerance, whether they're tenured academics like Ward Churchill, professional politicians like Barack Obama or angry waitresses like Dayna Morales, respond to tolerance with provocations. Their goal is to elicit evidence of intolerance to sustain their political identity. The more tolerance they encounter, the more they escalate their provocations.
Their goal is not a tolerant society. It's not a multiracial society or a post-racial society. It is a society perpetually at war over identity politics. That conflict is what gives them power.
Tolerance provokes them by challenging their identity as members in good standing of the officially oppressed. Being accepted insults the entire basis of their identity. Schizophrenics experience the discontinuity between the real world and the distorted world in their heads as threatening. Likewise the left, which insists on racism, reacts with paranoia to any talk that the country has become more tolerant. Their political schizophrenia is unable to accept America as it is. Instead they are bent on seeing the bigoted country that they experience inside their own heads.
Paranoid schizophrenics manufacture things to be paranoid about. Identity politics manufactures its own illusory bigotries. The schizophrenic Two Americas of liberals are really the America that exists and the hateful cartoon of it that they draw in their own heads, depict in movies, scrawl into articles and broadcast on television.
Liberals claim to want a better America, but they reject it at every turn. Their cynicism even poisons what should have been their triumphs.
Obama's victory was an opportunity for healing and unity. Even many Republicans cheered his inauguration, but liberals rejected the gift that Americans were giving and instead doubled down. Racism became their response to everything. Now every week brings another editorial accusing skeptics of government health care of being the new Confederacy. The New York Times even ran an op-ed describing a new Mason-Dixon line composed of states that rejected Medicaid expansion.
As disappointing at this behavior was to many, it was an inevitable as that forged receipt. The left derives its purpose from defending the oppressed and doling out social justice. If racism were gone, it would have to find a new reason to justify its existence. It had to go through that once when class warfare imploded under the pressure of American prosperity. It isn't about to go searching for a substitute for the racial tensions it manufactures.
The dominant political identity groups have responded to growing tolerance in the United States by defining intolerance down or provoking intolerant responses through aggressive publicity stunts. If the stunts don't bring out disgust and anger that they can work with, then they will simply invent intolerance wholesale by claiming that bigotry isn't an act or a word, but an innate attitude that lurks buried deep within the majority group. And that the only healing can come when the majority rejects its own identity and joins a minority group.
Beyond the community organizers, the academics and the political hacks who feed off that hatred are the millions of Americans who have not only unknowingly swallowed their dogma, but who have built entire identities around that sense of insecurity and oppression. These people are driven to organically manufacture intolerance because it defines who they are.
The left has dumped millions of Americans into this shadowy world where they have no positive reason for existing, only a negative one of defying some phantom establishment of patriarchy and some nebulous idea of white privilege.
Wearing chips on their shoulders they seek to provoke the confrontations that give them meaning and when their anger is met with tolerance, they manufacture intolerance with forged receipts, with accusations of white privilege, with fake hate crimes and phony accusations of racism.
It's a short distance from Dayna Morales forging a receipt to get some money and attention to Barack Obama faking accusations of racism to win a political fight and score another term.
BBC chairman Lord Patten says political correctness stops politicians speaking the truth on immigration and says Europe's weak borders have led to rampant crime
Lord Patten has weighed in to the immigration debate by suggesting that British politicians are now unable to cope with the country’s ‘porous borders’.
The Chairman of the BBC Trust and former Conservative minister blamed the ‘dark side of globalisation’ for the problem.
Chris Patten also suggested that elected representatives were increasingly reluctant to tell people the truth about such vexed issues.
His words – delivered to an international audience at the British Embassy in Paris – comes at a time when Britain is preparing to deal with an influx of immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria.
Lord Patten said: ‘Today with porous borders, the amount that politicians and political leaders can actually do on their own is very limited, and I think that it’s a pity that people don’t make that point rather more vigorously.’
He said that ‘immigration, organised crime, drugs’ and ‘epidemic disease’ were just some of the ‘aspects of the dark sides of globalisation’ leaving national governments increasingly powerless.
Referring to the September 11th 2001 attacks on America in which almost 3000 people died, Lord Patten said: ‘The 9/11 terrorists were paid for with credit cards – that’s the world we live in and I think it’s astonishing that politicians are so reluctant to say we’re not any more facing a series of challenges which are manageable within our own space, we’re trying to cope with a predicament.
‘It’s proved extremely difficult for political leaders to tell people what they may not want to hear and get elected.
‘And the general consequence has been that political leaders only tell people a bit of what they don’t want to hear, which doesn’t entirely prevent the growth of populism and parties on the extreme but can just about secure their election or near election.’
Lord Patten, who is also a former European Commissioner, said the problem with Brussels as it faced up to such problems was its lack of accountability.
While ‘the buck stopped’ with leaders like David Cameron in Britain and Francois Hollande in France, there was no-one in Brussels who was ultimately to blame for anything.
Lord Patten said: ‘I would give national parliaments a greater role in the legislative process and policy making in Brussels.
‘I would give them a red card as well as a yellow card when it came to proportionality and subsidiarity, and secondly I would create a parliamentary body, a sort of senate in Brussels – a body which represented national parliaments and had some kind of overriding view.’
Lord Patten warned against transferring any more power to the European parliament because ‘currently there isn’t any European demos’.
On the growth of power of European institutions, Lord Patten said: ‘I think that at the moment we’re in a crazy world. I bet you would hardly find a single European political leader who thought that the right way to get greater accountability into the system would be by giving more power to the European parliament.’
In words which may anger Mr Cameron, Lord Patten also praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He said: ‘Quite interesting how Chancellor Merkel who is probably the most successful politician in Europe at the moment, has been very nervous of ever embracing any agenda for radical change.
‘If you look at the agenda, which she has agreed with her allies in the coalition you can see that confirmed.’
There were also stern words about Russia, whom Lord Patten suggested was living up to its international role as a ‘trouble maker’.
Referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and to the disgraced former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, Lord Patten said: ‘In Europe we have been pretty weedy, as schoolboys would say, in the way we have dealt with Russia in the European Union.
‘And I think we’re being pretty weedy at the moment in the way we are debating the future of the Eastern partnership and those countries which escaped the Russian empire of the 1970s and 80s and which Mr Putin would like to have back in the hutch.
‘Russia is of course a country with a great history, with great literature and artistic tradition but I don’t see much of that in Mr Putin frankly, and I’m not surprised that his best European friend is Mr Berlusconi.’
Lord Patten was a speaking about international affairs and answering questions on Thursday at an evening celebrating the purchase of the Ambassador’s Residence in Paris by the Duke of Wellington. It was hosted by the current Ambassador, Sir Peter Ricketts.
Obama expands war on political speech
There is one mystery that has perplexed political observers after Senate Democrats decided to violate Senate rules allowing the minority party to block presidential appointments. And that was why it was so important to do so to help Patricia Ann Millett to get confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
A cynic might want to take look at a new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation severely restricting political activity of 501(c)4 organizations that was dropped the day after Thanksgiving.
After all, when this regulation is challenged — and it will be — that is the court where the case will invariably wind up, which handles cases involving federal regulations.
As for the regulation itself, not content with merely targeting tea party and other 501(c)4 organizations that engage in various types of political activity on an ad-hoc basis, the Obama administration via the Treasury Department has come out with a far more uniform approach to stifling (c)4 political speech.
Never mind that the law itself only explicitly prohibits 501(c)(3) charities from engaging in political activity, but not (c)(4) social welfare groups. In fact, it was the regulation that put a limitation in place. The 1960 regulation implementing 501(c)(4) states, “The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”
It also further defines what social welfare means under the law: “An organization is operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare if it is primarily engaged in promoting in some way the common good and general welfare of the people of the community.”
Under existing rules, an organization may carry on electioneering activities so long as it does not constitute a majority of its activities. But, no longer.
Now, limitations will be imposed not simply on advocacy for or against a candidate for public office, as has been the case for over 50 years, but on any communication that even mentions a public official who happens to be a candidate. Specifically, the regulations will define “certain communications that are close in time to an election and that refer to a clearly identified candidate as electioneering communications.”
It applies blackout periods 60 days prior to the general election and 30 days prior to primary elections at the federal, state, and local level.
But as Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens notes, this will not apply to 501(c)5 labor unions and (c)6 trade associations: “the proposed regulation does not apply to labor organizations, although the proposal states that the Administration is considering a regulation in this area. Thus, a likely result is that a final rule will be promulgated further restricting non-profit speech and activities long before any comparable regulation is promulgated on the activities of labor organizations.”
Mehrens summarized, “The net result will be more restrictions on the rights of conservative leaning organizations while the same restrictions on left leaning labor organizations remain unfinished.”
Adding ambiguity to how the regulations might be implemented, the IRS will no longer merely consider the costs of communications in determining eligibility for the 501(c)4 tax status. It will use a far more subjective, content-based standard: “the expansion of the types of communications covered in the proposed regulations reflects the fact that an organization’s tax exempt status is determined based on all of its activities, even low cost and volunteer activities, not just its large expenditures.”
And, the icing on the cake, “The Treasury Department and the IRS intend that content previously posted by an organization on its Web site that clearly identifies a candidate and remains on the Web site during the specified pre-election period would be treated as candidate-related political activity.”
Can you say ex post facto?
To give readers an idea of the broad implication of this regulation, Americans for Limited Government is a 501(c)4 organization whose websites have content dating back to 2008.
Understandably under prior rules allowing it we have written extensively about public officials, including members of Congress, who also happen to be candidates that run for office every two years.
Thousands of articles, in fact — nearly all of them mention public officials (who are usually running for reelection) or reference legislation or policies they support.
These are not electioneering communications. They do not advocate for or against the election of candidates — a constitutionally protected activity, but let’s leave that aside for a moment — they supported or criticized policies being proposed in the public arena.
But because the articles mention officials who happen to be candidates, and because primary elections occur at various intervals throughout election years, and because it is impossible to decipher by what standard the agency will determine to what degree actions are “candidate-related political activity,” complying with the new regulation might make it impossible for Americans for Limited Government to continue in its current form.
It is possible we would have to either shut down our website or go article by article to remove ones that mentioned public officials who happen to be running for reelection. Or redact the names of any officials who might be running for office and replace the names with black rectangles.
We publish lots of cartoons, too. We might have to go back and black out the faces of any officials who appear that also happen to be running for office. Then there’s all of those Youtube videos we made that mention officials who happen to run for reelection at regular intervals. Can’t forget those.
We might even have to remove any hyperlinks to roll call votes alerting the American people how their elected representatives voted on critical issues, since those links would include the names of candidates too. Or also links to any other news articles that might mention candidates. You know, just to be thorough.
Because primaries occur throughout federal election years, the blackout could apply through the better parts of 2014 and 2016. But don’t forget Virginia and New Jersey, which have state elections in federal off years (i.e. 2013, 2015, etc.), and we’ve written about issues concerning public officials there, too. Don’t want to go through all the trouble of redacting federal, state and local officials in 2014 and 2016, and not remember to remove Virginia and New Jersey ones for 2013 and 2015.
During all of those years, it is possible that to comply we’d have to shut down much of our communications since they so often reference government, if not elections.
That is, to keep 501(c)4 tax status, and not be classified as, say, a 527 political action committee. Both are tax-exempt entities, but with one critical difference: 527s have to disclose donations to the Federal Election Commission, and 501(c)4s do not.
And therein we get to the true intent of the new IRS regulation, which is to achieve via regulation what Congress could not when the DISCLOSE Act was defeated in 2010. The Obama administration is hell-bent on regulating critics of the administration out of existence by threatening to expose organizations’ membership lists.
Never mind what the Supreme Court stated clearly in NAACP v. Alabama (1958). Then Justice John Marshall Harlan’s majority opinion stated, applying the First Amendment via the Fourteenth to Alabama, “We hold that the immunity from state scrutiny of membership lists which the Association claims on behalf of its members is here so related to the right of the members to pursue their lawful private interests privately and to associate freely with others in so doing as to come within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Should the regulation go into effect in 2014, considering that it took about two years for federal courts to litigate the Citizens United decision, the blackout periods could be in effect through the entire 2016 election cycle.
Before it comes to this, the Supreme Court upon finalization of the rule will need to be petitioned and stay all implementation of the regulation in order to protect the First Amendment rights of citizens of all political stripes. To allow these regulations to govern speech during the next few cycles without full court scrutiny would be a grave disservice that the Supreme Court can and should stop.
Background Checks as the New Racism
Leftists push to make it illegal for employers to ask, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”
The Obama administration has a schizophrenic attitude toward requiring people to go through criminal-background checks. Last week, Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) grilled Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary, about why the 45,000 “navigators” who assist people in signing up for Obamacare aren’t required to undergo a criminal-background check, even though they handle sensitive personal information.
“So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual unbeknownst to them?” Cornyn asked her. “That is possible,” said Sebelius, noting that states could always impose their own requirements — as some have done.
The risk that unscrupulous or untrustworthy people could hold federally funded jobs or own guns certainly concerns the Obama administration in other contexts. The Office of Personnel Management conducts more than 2 million background checks a year for federal jobs. The FBI conducted just shy of 20 million background checks on gun owners in 2012.
In 2009, Robert Groves, President Obama’s handpicked director of the U.S. Census Bureau, announced that every one of the 1.2 million to 1.4 million people he would hire for the next year’s national head count would be investigated and fingerprinted — and felons wouldn’t be hired. “The goal is to ensure the public is protected,” the bureau announced at the time.
So given all of the background checks at the federal level, why not include the Obamacare navigators?
Michael Astrue, who served as commissioner of Social Security until earlier this year, and Scott Gottlieb, physician and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, warned in the Wall Street Journal in September about the security risks presented by the navigators:
"The Obama administration created unnecessary opportunities for fraud with the White House’s pork-minded insistence on funding favored community groups to employ “navigators” to solicit applicants and help them input their personal information, such as income and Social Security numbers. The navigators were hastily hired and trained (they are still being hired) and were not given extensive background checks. The personal data for millions of people will be entrusted to these navigators — and to a computerized system that has been rushed into operation."
Astrue and Gottlieb cautioned against the possibility of identity theft. That is not idle speculation. Remember ACORN, the fraud-laced “community organizing” group that once boasted Barack Obama had served as its lawyer and as one of its key trainers? ACORN finally went bankrupt in 2010 after dozens of its employees were convicted of voter-registration fraud and others showed up in undercover tapes offering advice on how to set up brothels and evade paying taxes. Investor’s Business Daily has reported that United Labor Unions Local 100, a New Orleans group run by ACORN founder Wade Rathke, announced on its Facebook page that it’s going “to do mass enrollment and help navigate people into the marketplaces In Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas under the Affordable Care Act!”
Many of the groups that have divvied up the $67 million in federal money available for hiring navigators say that they can’t afford the background checks some states are requiring. They note that the 20 hours of training each navigator receives includes warnings about the penalties for misuse of personal data. Amanda Ptashkin, outreach director for Georgians for a Healthy Future, complains that Georgia requires “a time-consuming process” that includes an affidavit of citizenship, a $50 fee, fingerprinting, and a background check. But the navigator jobs pay up to $48 per hour — exceptionally good money in a soft job market — and the burdens aren’t different from those that many private-sector applicants face.
But even these basic requirements will change if many of the civil-rights and advocacy groups involved in the navigators’ patronage trough have their way. There is an active campaign on the left to “ban the box,” or remove the checkbox question that’s common on job applications: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”
Last month, California governor Jerry Brown signed a law banning public employers from asking about criminal records until the employer has established the applicant’s “minimum qualifications.” The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a “guidance” last year saying that employers must establish that an inquiry into an applicant’s criminal record is a “business necessity” before they can make the inquiry. Otherwise, the employer could face employment-discrimination lawsuits under the theory that such background checks have a “disparate impact” on African Americans and Hispanics and are therefore unfair. The EEOC’s guidance also effectively requires that employers signal to job applicants that they were screened out of the job-applicant pool because of their criminal records, making the odds of a lawsuit against them dramatically higher.
Even worse, the EEOC has pursued employers that have a clear “business necessity” interest in the integrity of their employees, such as G4S Secure Solutions Pennsylvania, a firm that provides security guards for nuclear power plants and other sensitive sites. The EEOC went after the security firm for not hiring an individual convicted twice of burglary. G4S thought it was merely being prudent: Pennsylvania law forbids the hiring of individuals as security guards if they have felony convictions.
The Obama administration is clearly moving away from its prior support for background checks, at least when its politically correct allies find such checks offensive. But I am certain that most Americans would be angry to learn that the kind of vigorous background checks census workers underwent just three years ago have been abandoned in the case of Obamacare navigators. After all, the personal data the navigators will handle is even more sensitive than what census workers were tabulating.
Roger Clegg, head of the Center for Equal Opportunity, laments that we seem to have ignored Martin Luther King’s appeal to judge people “by the content of their character” rather than “by the color of their skin.” Today, all too often, skin color trumps all: Race is often used as the basis for preferring one job applicant or college student to another. But under the EEOC’s guidance, employers who try to factor in the content of one’s character, at least as revealed by one’s criminal record, risk costly litigation and stigma. Welcome to the Catch-22 world of the Obama administration.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.